Block Island Around-the-Island Race Results
June 24, 2011
Regattanews.com: After Wednesday’s “no blow” cancelled the races, today’s 12 to 15 knots of breeze brought big smiles to the faces of more than 1,000 sailors competing in the Storm Trysail Club’s (STC) biennial Block Island Race Week XXIV presented by Rolex. Forecasted heavy rain did not hit until late afternoon, and that was well after the fleet of 134 boats was safely back at the docks after enjoying an 18.2 nautical mile Around-the-Island Race.
As spectators traveled to different vantage points around the tiny island of only 21 square miles, it couldn’t be denied that the biggest boats from IRC 1 and 2 were the best of show, especially as they found it advantageous to tuck in close to the beach near North Light right after they started on the west side of the island. At Southeast Lighthouse, a full array of colorful spinnakers added to the visual impact, and by then it was clear that Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s (Newport, R.I.) JV 52 Interlodge had a hold over the whole pack, and more important, was keeping its closest competitor in IRC 1, Peter Cunningham’s (George Town, Grand Cayman, CAY) 52-foot PowerPlay, well at bay. Interlodge eventually was first-to-finish in the race and in its class, and the performance brought it into a podium-position third from fourth yesterday. (Powerplay is currently second overall with Jim Swartz’s IRC 52 Vesper leading by a slim margin of two points.)
“The race was very exciting and intense,” said Austin Fragomen. “The distance between boats was very compressed, and the top 4 to 5 boats are very well sailed.“ Interlodge’s tactician Brad Read (Middletown, R.I.) explained that the team was neck-and-neck with PowerPlay after the start but got a lift and passed that boat and Vela Veloce before the first mark. After putting up its code zero, Interlodge then peeled to an asymmetrical to get a nice run on the backside of the island and “made a couple of moves” near the Southeast Lighthouse to extend. “PowerPlay is just so fast,” said Read. “If the race had been another 10 minutes longer they might have beat us boat-for-boat.”
Vesper, which until today had a perfect score line in IRC 1, fouled one of the smaller boats at the start and did a penalty turn, eventually finishing fifth. “We never recovered from that,” said owner Jim Swartz (Park City, Utah). “If we had rounded the island a second time maybe we could have.” Swartz is wishing for a couple of good races tomorrow, which is the last day of the five-day event, to defend his position at the top of the scoreboard. “It’s still anyone’s game.”
Lawrence Dickie’s (Greenwich, Conn.) Ker 43 Ptarmigan won IRC 2, adding another perfect score to three victories already posted after Monday’s opening race and two races held on Tuesday. With an 8-point lead over John Cooper’s (Springfield, MO) Mills 43 Cool Breeze, he may have the strongest position in the run for the IRC East Coast Championship. That title will be awarded at tomorrow night’s closing awards, and as well, the top performing IRC-rated boat from today’s Around-the-Island Race will be presented with a Rolex timepiece. (The event is also serving as the J/122 National Championship and the J/109 East Coast Championship.)